Today, many young people delay marriage until they have launched a career or started a business, and, not all that surprisingly, some are asking for asset protection with a prenuptial agreement prior to tying the knot to ensure they are financially protected in the event of a divorce.
Although planning for divorce before you are married may seem to be in poor taste, a premarital agreement really protects both spouse’s in the event of a divorce. Because both spouses know what to expect if they decide to separate sometime in the future, a prenup can alleviate friction in a marriage and help couples avoid costly legal disputes in the future.
Prenuptials are important if:
- Either spouse has debt and one or both wishes to specify that the other will be responsible for the debt in the event of a divorce
- One spouse is a higher earning spouse or has more assets and the lower earning spouse wants assurance that spousal maintenance will be paid if the marriage fails
- If either spouse has children from a previous marriage, they may wish to ensure that younger or college age children are provided for after a divorce or that they receive certain heirlooms and inheritances
- If either spouse owns a small business, a prenuptial (or postnuptial) agreement is crucial to protect the business
Keep in mind that the decision to enter into a prenuptial agreement must be voluntary; when a spouse asks the other to sign a prenuptial, they may not pressure, manipulate, or deceive the other spouse. All parties to the agreement must be transparent in their financial disclosure, listing all assets and debt to avoid invalidating a prenup. The end result must be fair to both spouses; any lopsided agreements that are clearly disadvantageous to one spouse may be thrown out by the court.
If you are planning to marry and have questions regarding asset protection with a prenup or are starting a business after marriage and want to know more about how a postnuptial agreement can protect you, contact the Libertyville law offices of Ronald L. Bell & Associates PC at 847-495-6000.